How To Excel At Your First Job

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You may have been an all-star student in undergrad, but if you can’t demonstrate a certain level of professionalism in the workplace, you probably won’t be holding on to your first job for very long. One of the most common problems facing graduates just entering the job market is that they have little to no professional experience, and consequently don’t have much real-world experience around professionalism, meeting etiquette, and how to behave in the office.

Check out our in-depth guide on developing a level of professionalism and office etiquette that will not only cement your position at the company but also increase your value to your employer.

A guide to workplace professionalism

If you want to put your best foot forward in your first job, it’s essential that you demonstrate just how professional you are at all levels— from your office etiquette to your ability to motivate and manage yourself at work. These are some of the ways you can showcase your employability to your boss and your coworkers:

1. Respect the time of others.

In the world of business, time is money. Any time you waste on the job, whether it’s prolonged texting with friends, time on social media, or unnecessary hallway conversations that drag on and on, will end up delaying others. This means that your company’s money is being flushed down the drain and your business is losing its competitive advantage. By developing proper business etiquette, you can ensure that you make the most of your time and impress your boss by improving productivity of the team overall.

2. Hit your deadlines.

When you start a new job and you are still learning the ropes, it can be overwhelming when you have to juggle multiple tasks at once. Whatever you do, do not fail to miss a deadline. Work after hours if you have to or ask for advice about a particular project, but do not fail to complete your work on time.

3. Maintain professional and personal boundaries.

It is a great idea to foster a strong relationship with colleagues and clients, but there is such a thing as over-sharing in the workplace. Your boss doesn’t need to know about how drunk you were on Friday night, for example. Find a sensible balance between your professional and personal life.

4. Set a 30,60,90 day plan.

Setting a plan for yourself has been proven to increase productivity and efficiency, and showing that you’re organized and productive in your first months on the job goes a long way. Try to pick goals that can build on themselves and help you further your career. Perhaps learning a bit of coding or brushing up on the latest techniques in your field would make you stand out and help you get ahead. You can also establish your 30, 60, and 90 plans whenever you’d like, not just in the start of your new job. Actively working to improve yourself is always recommended and gets you noticed by the higher-ups in the office.

Lastly, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. There are going to be a lot of things you don’t know, but instead of letting that set you back, let that motivate your desire to improve and learn. Face everything with a positive attitude, even failures and snags in the road, and you’ll be able to snap back easily. Employers will definitely appreciate your adaptability and resilience. In fact, if you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step to performing a step above and succeeding in the workplace.

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Sean Little is the VP of Marketing for FirstJob.com. FirstJob matches current students and recent college graduates with internships and quality career opportunities. Sean also runs FirstJob’s campus ambassador program at campuses across the country, helping students learn marketing topics while connecting them with top brands and job opportunities. Get started with FirstJob by registering or searching today.